I’ll walk to the end for my grandad

BMy grandad, Dr. Eugeny Kopeika, is one of the most inspirational people I know. He is very intelligent, wise and, most importantly, kind and selfless. His career has been spent helping young scientists in Ukraine to reach their full potential. He has dedicated his entire life to helping his family and complete strangers to better themselves.

Unfortunately, my grandparents live in Ukraine, where medical services are awful and, at times, dangerous. Recently, he has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. The doctors have already informed us that the cancer is incurable but I would like to be able to help my grandad prolong his life as much as possible and make sure he lives the rest of his life in care and with dignity.

To explain the situation, I would like to tell you how we found out about it. My grandad was admitted to hospital for a planned surgery on a hernia. As part of the admission process, we requested to have a colonoscopy done because he had a recent change in his bowel habits. After the colonoscopy, the surgeon called my aunt out of the room and informed her that they had found a tumour in his bowel, and that his liver is "STUFFED" with metastasis, making the hernia no longer a priority. They never said anything to my grandad, who was left with no information thinking that his hernia surgery was just postponed. These "doctors" discharged him home with no information and no advice regarding further steps or care. My mum had to take the first available flight to Ukraine to investigate the possibilities.

Our family was “thrown out of the hospital” with a horrible diagnosis, with no emotional or physical support from any experts, and a burden to deliver the diagnosis to our grandad ourselves. When we cried for help, trying to find “good doctors” via word of mouth, they would frown and tell us that there's not really oncology in the Ukraine.

After a big struggle to find at least some sort of “expert opinion”, we were told that the best option would be to start chemotherapy as soon as possible (which started  on the 10th July 2017.) Medical care in Ukraine is officially "free", however the doctors give you a list of drugs which you have to buy yourself. One course of the chemotherapy costs £3000 per month. This treatment lasts between 3-6 months.  If there is a response, we may need to have radiotherapy at a later stage. This amount need to be raised as soon as possible because he still feels quite healthy and very optimistic which means there is a higher chance of this treatment helping.

However, his cancer is at the 4th stage so we can't wait much longer. Unfortunately, my family doesn't have access to such a large amount of money: this is the equivalent of 38 years of money at the average salary for where they live. I would really appreciate any help and if you could share this to inform as many people as possible.

I would like to attract the attention of Cancer Research UK, Red Cross, Human Rights or whoever could help with oncology in Ukraine. Because of the corrupt system, not many doctors go into oncology and therefore it is almost impossible to find any help. They treat people with cancer as if they have absolutely no chance and should not even be informed about the diagnosis, which I think is absolutely outrageous! Most  developed countries provide at least palliative care. Ukraine is developing in many ways, but unfortunately medicine is not one them.

My grandad always fights for young scientists and I will do anything for him. This is why I have organised a walk along the South Coast of England. My partner and I will be walking from Dover to Porthcurno Beach, in Cornwall, a total distance of around 450 miles, over a period of three weeks next summer. I will be photographing the journey as I go along; the photos will be sold at the end of the journey to raise money. My grandad is currently 77 years old and is a humble, honest and loving person. I would really appreciate any help and support you can give. Thank you!
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Anna Pisminetska 
London, Greater London, United Kingdom